Seasons Greetings from Cape Foulwind!
It’s hard to believe that this time last year, Lee and I were trawling through online business for sale listings, trying to find the perfect property for our next adventure in life. From the 100’s of listings online, we managed to narrow our search down to half a dozen that we thought would suit us, both as a business venture and also as our new home.
Then in January this year, we did a road trip the length of New Zealand to see if we could find The One.
After seeing a few properties that left us completely cold – I still shudder at one motel we saw where a couple of pet rabbits scampered loose amongst the just cleaned sheets and linen!… it was at that point we wondered if we were searching for a needle in a haystack.
Then we arrived at Omau Settlers Lodge Motel; falling in love with Cape Foulwind and it’s untamed natural wilderness (to coin the West Coast tag line). The friendly locals and a real sense of community made it an easy decision to take the plunge. Three months later, we’d managed to sell our home in Hamilton, resign from the safety of our jobs, pack up and relocate South to our new home. This was much to the amusement of our work mates who gleefully asked ‘Do you actually know how much it rains on the West Coast?’
Nine months on, and we’re loving the move. Everyday is different and we never know who is going to walk into reception wanting a room for the night. We get a varied mix of New Zealand & overseas travelers, all looking for accommodation off the beaten track, unique but welcoming. Lee loves the fact that his dad jokes never get old – at least that’s what he thinks!
I’m slowly tapping into my inner domestic goddess. Every morning we serve up a complimentary continental breakfast in the lodge dining room, complete with fresh homemade bread, muffins, cereal and fruit. Lee is a dab hand with the bread and fresh yoghurt; whereas I can now literally make muffins in my sleep.
We’re extremely lucky to have three wonderful local ladies work here; Collette, Brianna & Kim, who do a fantastic job of presenting the studios for our guests, and I’m always so proud when a guest makes a point of telling us how clean and tidy everything is.
The team over at the Star Tavern do a stellar job too, serving up hearty delicious ‘pub grub.’ Given that the Star is walking distance from us, it’s a popular choice for our guests. It’s a very family friendly pub with a good mix of local and visitor trade, so there’s always someone interesting to chat to. Since being here, I’ve tried everything on their menu, and can safely say it’s all good! (though not so much on my waistline)
Just four kilometres down the road is the iconic Bay House Restaurant, which is now open for summer. Bookings are essential. A popular option with our guests is to head across on foot; up Lighthouse Road, over the Cape Foulwind walkway to the seal colony, along the beach at Tauranga Bay finishing up at The Bay House for lunch or for dinner.
Tauranga Bay boasts some awesome surf and we are fortunate to have a couple of local surf instructors who also provide surf board and wet-suit hire. And if guests are aching after all that activity, there’s even a Naturopath & massage therapist located minutes from the lodge.
We are looking forward to our first Christmas at Cape Foulwind, it’s going to be a busy one, with a lot of people coming for their summer holidays as well as the extremely popular Westport Races on Boxing day and again on the 28th. The ‘Cape Day Out’ is on the 27th of December and it should be a great family day down at the local domain.
As you can tell, we absolutely love it here. Max & Jimmy Chu, our resident pooches, love it here too. They have quickly learnt that the dining room is out of bounds during the breakfast service, but are always happy to enjoy a cuddle with the pet friendly of our guests. There’s still a bit of tension between Max & Jimmy, and Wally, our resident Weka, who ventures across to the lodge each morning for his slice of toast, when he knows the coast will be clear with Max & Jimmy safely tucked away. Actually Wally is a girl… and just recently she’s been bringing her little chicks over for breakfast too, they are super cute and very cheeky!
So as 2016 draws to an eventful close, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.
Best wishes and safe travels, Karen & Lee